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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 2004

Note: Beginning in June 2012, opinions will be posted as Adobe PDFs. You can download a free copy of Adobe Reader here.

The summary following each opinion is prepared to offer lawyers and the public a general overview of what a particular opinion decides. The summary is not necessarily a full description of the issues discussed in an opinion.

3-1-2004 - Opinions

3748 - Ellis v. Davidson

In this appeal from a grant of partial summary judgment, Appellant primarily argues the trial judge erred in: (1) finding there was no attorney/client relationship created between Respondents' attorneys and Appellant, and, as a result, granting summary judgment in favor of Respondents on the causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty and attorney malpractice; (2) refusing to consider an expert witness affidavit; (3) granting summary judgment as to all causes of actions against one of the parties to the suit; and (4) granting summary judgment when there were outstanding motions and discovery.

3749 - Goldston v. State Farm

Cynthia P. Goldston appeals the special referee’s ruling in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in this declaratory judgment action concerning State Farm’s obligation to pay underinsured motorist coverage benefits. We affirm, as modified.

3750 - Martin v. Companion Healthcare

Martin sued both Companion Healthcare and Healthcare Recoveries, Inc., alleging, among other things, that the amount they collected from her in an exercise of Companion's subrogation right exceeded the cost of her medical bills. The trial court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment, finding Martin's action was barred by the statute of limitations and the doctrine of voluntary payment. We affirm.

3-8-2004 - Opinions

3751 - State v. Barnett

This case involves whether an indictment for grand larceny was sufficeint to confer subject matter jurisdiction, where the body of the indictment failed to allege the property's value was in excess of one thousand dollars.

3752 - State v. Heyward

The issue in this criminal appeal is whether the trial court erred in seating a juror, whom it found to have been struck in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, rather than ordering the process of selecting the jury to start de novo.

3753 - Deloitte v. Unisys Corporation

Deloitte appeals from a trial court's order denying arbitration. We affirm.

3754 - Penny v. Green

Husband and Wife both appeal from a family court order reducing Husband's child support and alimony obligations. Husband also appeals Wife's award of attorney's fees. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

3755 - Hatfield v. Van Epps

William Hatfield, individually and on behalf of Hyman Law Firm, brought an action against Susan Van Epps to recover attorney's fees she owed Law Firm. Van Epps filed a counterclaim, asserting legal malpractice. Van Epps appeals the trial judge's decision to grant a directed verdict in Law Firm's favor on a portion of her malpractice cause of action and from the jury verdict, asserting the trial judge made numerous errors. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

3756 - Matthews v. Richland County School District One

Richaland County Schoool District One appeals the trial court's award of attorney's fees to Delores Matthews following a jury verdict on her claim under the Payment of Wages Act. We dismiss the appeal as being untimely.

3757 - All Saints Parish v. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina

This case involves a dispute between the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, All Saints Parish, and the descendants of the trustees to determine who owns real and personal property located on Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. The circuit court ruled for the descendants of the trustees on a motion for summary judgment, finding an active charitable trust existed, and the descendants of the trustees held legal title to the real property. We vacate in part, reverse in part, and remand.

3-15-2004 - Opinions

3758 - Walsh v. Woods

This case holds that the claims brought by appellant, individually and as personal representative of the estate of her deceased husband, against his former wife for surviving spouse benefits under ERISA are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

3759 - QZO v. Moyer

This civil action involves whether the Circuit Court erred in (1) denying Appellant's Motion to Dismiss based upon lack of personal jurisdiction; (2) issuing an ex parte temporary restraining order which provided no notice or opportunity to be heard by Appellant; (3) sanctioning Appellant for an alleged violation of the temporary restraining order; and (4) striking the answer of Appellant and rendering a default judgment against Appellant.

3760 - Rogers v. State

The Court of Appeals affirmed Brandon Heath Rogers’s appeal from the circuit court’s affirmance of his conviction in municipal court for criminal domestic violence (CDV). On appeal, Rogers argued the circuit court erred in (1) upholding the decision of the municipal court finding him guilty of CDV; (2) failing to hold that the municipal court erred by not granting a directed verdict to him; and (3) failing to file an order setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52(a), SCRCP. On the first issue, the court noted that it was not able to conduct a de novo review, as urged by Rogers, but instead was limited to review errors of law in criminal appeals from magistrate’s or municipal courts. Because Rogers alleged no legal error, the court affirmed his conviction. The court found the second issue, regarding Rogers’s directed verdict motion, unpreserved because he failed to raise it to the circuit court, which was acting as an intermediate appellate court. Concerning the third issue, the court found the rule of civil procedure cited by Rogers’s was inapplicable in this criminal matter.

3761 - Fleet Capital v. Seal Jet

This case involves whether Michigan courts acquired personal jurisdiction over a defendant such that a judgment creditor can enforce a Michigan judgment in South Carolina.

3-22-2004 - Opinions

3762 - Jeter v. SCDOT

This is an an appeal of a judgment in an action under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act. The issues are whether section 15-78-100(b) of the Act addresses jurisdiction or venue and whether the trial court should have allowed the jury to apportion fault among all potential tortfeasors pursuant to section 15-78-100(c) of the Act.

3763 - Fuller v. Blanchard

Frances Adena Fuller brought wrongful death, survival, and loss of consortium claims against Dr. Gerald E. Blanchard, alleging he committed medical negligence in failing to advise her husband of the adverse results of a cancer screening test. Dr. Blanchard appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment to Mrs. Fuller on two of his defenses.

3764 - Hawkins v. Greenville

In this civil action, the court reviews the liability of the City of Greenville in regard to stormwater drainage under the aegis of the following causes of action (1) inverse condemnation (2) negligence in the City's design and maintenance of its stormwater drainage system, (3) violation of South Carolina Code section 5-31-450, (4) trespass, and (5) conversion.

3765 - InMed v. MedQuest

This is a cross-appeal from a jury verdict arising from an unfair trade practices dispute between two competing providers of magnetic resonance imaging services. The primary issue in the disposition of this appeal is whether the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act can be applied to purchases of medical equipment under the South Carolina Certificate of Need and Health Facility Licensure Act.

3766 - Craig v. Craig

Wife appeals the trial court's order awarding alimony, dividing the marital estate, valuing the personal property, and granting Wife a special equity in Husband's nonmarital assets.

3-29-2004 - Opinions

3767 - Hunt v. SC Forestry Commission

In this civil action, the court analyzes the efficacy of a fee simple determinable with a possibility of reverter as juxtapose to a fee simple absolute.

3768 - Austin v. Specialty Transportation Services

In this civil action, the Appellant contends the trial court erred in awarding excessive actual and punitive damages. Additionally, Appellant avers that it is not liable for the tort of its agent because the agent had been voluntarily dismissed by Respondent without prejudice.